IF YOU ARE ARRESTED:
DO YOURSELF A BIG FAVOR
DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE & CALL A LAWYER!
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND PROSECUTORS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS
NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY TELL YOU THEY ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE A CASE!
DMV VS THE COURT:
There are two different entities that are after you when you have a DUI. The Court is only one of them. The other entity is DMV which is an administrative agency and they do not follow the Rules of Evidence as a Court would or should. The DMV Hearing Officer is both the presiding judge and the prosecutor. Thus the overwhelming majority of DMV cases are won by DMV. The outcome of the Court proceedings does not necessarily affect the outcome of the DMV Hearing.
For a DMV hearing, technically the DMV Hearing Officer can proceed with just the one (1) page DS 367 Report. They do not have to provide us with a complete police report.
After the DMV hearing the hearing officer will take the matter under submission and send you a letter, at your drivers license address, notifying you of their decision. They do not give us their decision over the phone. In my opinion, the hearing officers do not have the nerve to tell us over the phone that you have lost and the reason for their Ruling. They often send out what looks like a form letter by the time we have completed the DMV hearing advising the driver they lost the hearing. This is the same thing I was trained to do when I sat as a Judge Pro-Tem for traffic matters. It is easier to say you are taking it under submission and will notify the defendant. That avoids a conflict in the courtroom. Once again, something like 98% of DMV hearings are lost by California Drivers.
If DMV suspends your license, it is for a four month period on a first offense. If you ask for a restricted license, the suspension is for 5 months. You can request a restricted license 30 days after the suspension period starts and it allows you to drive to and from work and a DUI program.
If a client enters a plea in Court, AFTER the DMV hearing suspension, even though the court does not order a suspension of the license the court will notify DMV in Sacramento of the plea. The Court will explain the driver is required to attend a drinking driving program and this will trigger a letter from DMV in Sacramento, called an Order of Suspension which is another suspension that uses the conviction date. They are considered separate suspensions and thus depending on the timing you could have 2 different DMV suspensions for the same DUI. The Order of Suspension by the Court is for 6 months. However, unlike a suspension BY DMV, you can apply for a restricted license right away by paying $55.00 to reissue a license and $15.00 for the restriction for a total of $70.00. You would have to show proof of enrollment in a drinking driving program and provide them with an SR-22 which you would get from your insurance agent, showing your vehicle is insured. This action from the DMV, which is triggered by the court plea, is taken under the authority of Section 13352(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code because of a DUI conviction. Thus, there is NO Minimum Suspension.
If you enter a plea, the court imposes a fine which is paid at the first room on the left as you enter the Larson Justice Center. It was formerly called FINANCIAL SERVICES and recently changed its name to ENHANCED COLLECTIONS – (877) 955-3463 or you can pay online at www.epay-it.com or http://www.riverside.courts.ca.gov/epayit.shtml or http://www.riverside.courts or ca.gov/pubnotice_increasedaccess.pdf. You can often work out payment plans of $50.00 to $75.00 a month. Telephone payments can be made by calling (951) 222-0384.
The DMV hearing, which in most cases takes place before a court plea is entered, will usually result in a ruling unfavorable to the driver/defendant. If you lose the DMV hearing, your license is suspended for 4 months. However, here, you have to wait a minimum of 30 days before you request a restricted license. After 30 days of not having a license, you can apply for the restricted license by paying $125.00 to DMV and again showing proof of enrollment in a required DUI program and proof of insurance by filing an SR-22. The court suspension is different from the DMV suspension, but they result in the same challenge for a defense lawyer. The remaining 90 days of the 120 day suspension would be restricted. With DMV after 120 days you can get your license back if there is no plea/conviction in Court. If you plead in Court and DO NOT do what is ordered by the Court, then DMV will suspend your license and the Court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest for the Violation of Probation.
Many clients want to take care of the Drinking Driving program requirement before going to court, and though most lawyers will tell you that you cannot do so, you can. There is, however, a potential problem where the court may want to order you into a program all over again. Thus, we do not recommend this. To enter a DUI class before a plea, you would have to first call the Riverside County Drinking Driving Program at 863-8471 and then call one of the following: (1) The AWARENESS PROGRAM at (760) 342-1233; or (2) The ALERT PROGRAM at (760) 322-7725, and give them a DMV printout that you would obtain from DMV in Palm Springs, Palm Desert or Indio along with your California DMV ID card.
The Awareness Program uses the DMV printout or court order to sign you up for the First Offender Drinking Driving Program under AB-541. This is a 16 week, (4 month) program meeting once per week. If your blood alcohol reading is over .15, then AB-762 (an Enhancement) will be filed by the Court thus, requiring the 9 month program. DMV only files an enhancement if the reading is over .20.
If we are unable to plead to a lesser charge, the First Offender program will be for 4 months. If you are within 10 years of a previous DUI offense, then the old case will be counted as a prior, and if/when convicted of a 2nd DUI, the DMV will take your license away for 1 year and there is mandatory jail time of ten (10) days minimum from the Court! There is no such thing as a restricted license after a 2nd DUI although some Courts will allow it with an Interlock Device on your car. It is computed from CONVICTION DATE TO OFFENSE DATE. If you are on summary probation for a DUI then anything over a .01 on a new DUI will result in DMV suspending your license for One (1) year. A 3rd time DUI within ten (10) years results in a 10 year revocation of your CDL. An Interlock device may be possible at some point.
You normally have 21 days from the Court Sentencing date to enroll in DUI classes. Most clients go to the AWARENESS PROGRAM at 45-550 Grace Street, Indio. They also have a Palm Springs office. Their phone number is (760) 342-1233. Candace Bibby is the owner of the Awareness Program and Hector runs the facility. They are both friends of mine so tell them that I referred you.
There is also the ALERT PROGRAM, owned by Jacque Stewart, 730 Eugene Road, Palm Springs, California 92264, and their phone number again is (760) 322-7725. When you call her, say hello from me and she will give you a discount on the program. The 1st Offenders Programs costs $488.00, the (9) month program is $1,200.00 and the Wet Reckless program is $215.00. If you have to be out-of-town you can request a leave of absence. However, you must attend 1 class before asking for a leave of absence. Normally you would have to show airline tickets showing you will be out-of-town.
With respect to your California Driver’s License, on every Driving Under the Influence arrest, you have 10 days to request a DMV hearing and request a Stay of Execution. If you requested one, your valid license status is extended or tolled until the results of the DMV hearing. If you are in the vast majority of cases where the DMV rules against you, your license is suspended for 4 months.
Once again, after 30 days of suspension you can request a RESTRICTED LICENSE by going to DMV and paying about $125.00 for a re-issuance fee and providing proof of insurance (your insurance agent fills out an SR-22). You then can obtain a restricted license to drive to and from work and to and from a drinking driving program. Thus, everyone in the State of California who has a Driving Under the Influence plea or conviction will have a minimum of 30 days where they cannot drive. Many drivers have a four to five month period of suspension, but the way to get around it is to follow the directions indicated herein.
If you had a driver’s license from another state, instead of a California SR-22, you would obtain a AAMBA SR-22 from your insurance agent from your home state in order to reissue your license in your home state and/or get a new license in California. There is an additional document that you would get from DMV when the proof of insurance is not from California. If the AAMBA is used, there is a supplemental document that will be needed for non-resident insurance. I strongly suggest you read The 10 Key Things a DUI Driver Needs To Know.
The DMV Hearing is an Administrative Per Se hearing. Thus, if the reading is .08 or higher, you are considered “per se guilty”. The burden of proof is then on you. The basic issue at a DMV hearing is whether there was probable (reasonable) cause to pull you over. Then they look to see if your blood alcohol reading was .08 or more.
After a license suspension, because there is a 30 day period where you cannot drive, you either have to make arrangements to have one of your friends drive you or you can contact a private limo company and/or a driver such as Howard Packer at Limo4U. Howard has a Lincoln Towncar that is immaculate and is probably a little less expensive than a stretch limo. His number is (760) 322-1881. Another alternative that I have used myself (though not because of a DUI) is hiring New ERA Services at (760) 408-4271. The owner, Ed Drenth, will charge you $16.00 per hour with a three hour minimum for the Coachella Valley and six hour minimum going into Los Angeles and he will DRIVE YOUR CAR. Tell Ed that I referred you. You can also contact Cardiff Limousine at (760) 568-1403 for a Towncar. Tell my friend Gary Cardiff hello from me. Another consideration is www.Desertdesignateddriver.com, i.e., Club Hopper 760-449-7928.
Clients with more serious drinking issues often choose to go into one of the rehab programs that are listed herein. You will need to provide them with your case number which is on the Memorandum of Court Order Terms and Conditions, and it starts with INM which stands for a Indio Misdemeanor case. On all first offense driving under the influence matters, you must attend the first offense AB-541 Program. For someone who has a prior drunk driving, they must attend a second offender program under SB-38. A 2nd offense within 10 years results in DMV suspending your license for one (1) year.
Of course, if you have a REFUSAL, both the court and the DMV will take your license away for 1 year and the court will demand jail time. Though we can sometimes talk the court out of suspending your license, DMV will automatically suspend your license for a year.
A Refusal within 10 years of an alcohol-related reckless driving, or drunk driving or vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, would result in a 2 year revocation of your driving privileges. Furthermore, a 10 year revocation of your driving privileges would result if the refusal to provide a chemical sample was within 10 years of 2 or more separate alcohol-related offenses or reckless driving, drunk driving or vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.